Scenes from World AIDS Day Dallas at Main Street Garden

Seven panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt formed the centerpiece of the World AIDS Day commemoration on Saturday in Dallas’ Main Street Garden.

Members of the Knitting Circle, a group of HIV-positive women from Legacy Counseling Center’s Grace Project, wore red scarves they knitted for the first time. The project is designed to increase knowledge and decrease loneliness for those in communities where HIV remains a taboo subject.

Among the quilts displayed was one with a panel for Tom Davis, founder of the Round-Up Saloon; David Barton, founder of Hunky’s; and Alan Ross, the Pride parade organizer. On another quilt was a panel for Steve Burrus, a Dallas man who co-founded DIFFA.

Another is the most requested panel in the entire 50,000-panel quilt. It reads: “My name is Duane Kearns Puryear. I was born on December 20, 1964. I was diagnosed with AIDS on September 7, 1987 at 4:45 pm. I was 22 years old. Sometimes it makes me very sad. I made this panel myself. If you are reading it, I am dead.”

Puryear made that panel at a quilt-making workshop at Resource Center Dallas, where it hung until he took it to Washington, D.C. in 1989 for a quilt display on the National Mall. On his flight home, he left it in the overhead bin and the original was never seen again. When he died in 1990, his mother made this replica from a picture and it is her replica that is part of the quilt.

Among the speakers were Otis Harris who was featured on Saturday in an MTV special, I’m Positive, and Zach Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

More photos below.

—  David Taffet

Thanksgiving meals served Wed. at Resource Center, Thurs. at Round-Up

Local AIDS service providers are offering Thanksgiving meals before the holiday, and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association and the Round-Up Saloon are making sure everyone gets a holiday meal on the holiday.

AIDS Interfaith Network‘s Daire Center provided a big holiday meal last weekend and another today.

For Resource Center Dallas, Wednesday is the day of the holiday meal. RCD has a daily lunch program on weekdays but the Thanksgiving lunch will be elaborate and open to the public.

“It’s longer than normal because demand is increasing every year,” RCD Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell said.

McDonnell said they will not be checking client IDs and everyone is welcome. Lunch will be served in the Rainbow Room where the program normally takes place — with coffee and desert in the Color Rooms.

“We have 12 turkeys, our own cornbread dressing and other traditional sides,” he said.

TGRA is serving Thanksgiving dinner at the Round-Up Saloon on Thursday. That dinner is open to the public.

“We wanted to do something special for the community,” said TGRA President Butch Compton.

He said he contacted AIN and RCD to tell them to send their clients. About 400 people are expected at the Round-Up.

Compton said everything’s donated. On Wednesday, volunteers are picking up pieces of the meal to prepare and cook at home. He said he has 30 turkeys, nine hams, 25 pies, 100 cupcakes and lots more. Donations of food are not needed but cash donations to help defray the costs are welcome.

“We reached out to friends and family,” Compton said.

Any money that doesn’t go toward the meal, he said, would go to RCD, AIN or Legacy Counseling Center.

Volunteers are still needed. To volunteer, send an email to Compton.

—  David Taffet

RCD volunteers set up shirt booth on Cedar Springs for Sandy victims

Hurricane Sandy damage in West Hempstead, Long Island

A group of Resource Center Dallas volunteers will be on the Strip today through Saturday selling T-shirts to benefits victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Sharon Thomas and a few friends who volunteer at the center’s food pantry came up with the idea. They created shirt designs and will be selling them in front of Hunky’s.

Shirts are $15 each or two for $25. People can also donate cash or spare change if they don’t want to buy a shirt. The proceeds of the shirts will go to Red Cross for the hurricane relief efforts.

“I felt like this is something I could do,” she said, adding that her friends knew people in New York who were affected and they wanted to do something. “This is a way that I can give something.”

Sales start today at 5 p.m. and run through Saturday evening, beginning at 5 p.m. each night.

—  Anna Waugh

Donation allows Resource Center to upgrade dental clinic equipment

Resource Center CEO Cece Cox, left, is shown with Ed Wakin, who donated new dental equipment that will make the delivery of dental services more efficient for the center’s clients.

Resource Center Dallas dedicated new equipment Thursday in its dental suite that will make delivery of service more efficient and will allow its dentists to serve more clients.

The new digital equipment cuts out the 20-minute processing time and eliminates the need for disposal of chemicals, said Resource Center Dallas CEO Cece Cox. Electronic storage of information becomes more efficient and saves space.

“We can diagnose and treat earlier,” Dr. LaShawn Shaw said.

Shaw said if she needs to refer a patient to another dentist for an additional procedure, the digital X-rays can be emailed. She said this machine also exposes the patient to less radiation than traditional dental X-ray machines.

Ed Wakin made the donation for the purchase of the equipment.

“I was just seeing what Resource Center did,” he said. “I was so impressed. We discussed the needs and it took me about 10 minutes to make the decision to help with this gift.”

“People forget how important oral health is to overall health,” Shaw said. She said dental health is important for people with HIV to have proper nutrition. It’s also hard for someone with HIV to return to the workforce if they can’t talk and present well.

—  David Taffet

The Nelson-Tebedo Clinic has some state-of-the-art new dental equipment

RCD’s Bret Camp at the dedication of the dental suite at the Nelson-Tebedo Clinic in December 2011.

Resource Center Dallas will dedicate a state-of-the-art digital X-ray and electronic medical records system Thursday at the Nelson-Tebedo Community Clinic on Cedar Springs Road. The new equipment will allow the clinic to serve more HIV-positive dental clients.

Ed Wakin made a $26,000 donation that funded the new equipment in large part. He became acquainted with the dental program after taking a tour in support of the Center’s capital campaign.

“I’m thrilled my gift can make such a huge difference in the lives of people the Center serves every day. It’s an honor to do this for the LGBT community and the community at-large,” Wakin said in a press release.

Resource Center Dallas CEO Cece Cox said: “We are thankful for Ed’s generous gift, which has had an immediate impact in improving our clients’ health. That, combined with his larger support to build a new home for the center, will save and change lives for decades to come.”

The Center launched its dental clinic in 1989 and served more than 800 people last year performing more than 1,500 procedures. That number is expected to grow by 2014. The new equipment provides more advanced, clearer X-rays and will speed up the process of taking X-rays. It will also let the center’s dentists and dental staff educate patients by showing them their teeth via a monitor in each dental suite, and in turn allow staff to see more patients every day.

The dedication ceremony and tours of the clinic take place from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m Thursday, Nov. 15.

—  David Taffet

Officials from Resource Center, Green Oaks discuss hospital’s LGBT policy

Officials from Resource Center Dallas met with Green Oaks Hospital administrators this week about an LGBT policy the hospital told a transgender woman it was implementing.

The policy change was explained in a letter to the woman after she sent a complaint about her recent experience at the hospital. The hospital responded with a letter stating they were adding a trans policy, but wouldn’t discuss it with Instant Tea.

RCD then sent Green Oaks a letter requesting a meeting about its LGBT policies. In the letter, RCD mentions the Joint Commission, which accredits Green Oaks, and how the commission “recently added LGBT benchmarks to its future accreditations as of this past July.”

Rafael McDonnell, RCD’s communications and advocacy manager, said hospital officials called them last week to schedule a meeting for this past Monday. He said the hospital is working on a transgender policy and RCD officials suggested a change in the language for intersex individuals in the draft they reviewed. He also said they encouraged the hospital to include trans protections in its employment nondiscrimination policy, which currently covers only sexual orientation.

McDonnell said the policy has to be reviewed by a few committees and would most likely be implemented in a few weeks.

“They’re carrying out in policy what they have been doing in practice,” he said.

Cox, RCD’s CEO,  said the policy and language were complete and comprehensive and she looked forward to working with the hospital in the future.

“We will play a role with connecting some of our people in the trans community with them to work on health issues,” she said.

Alexis Johnson, executive director of risk management for Green Oaks, refused to comment on any LGBT policy previously. After the meeting, she emailed a statement confirming the hospital is working on policies.

“We had a good meeting with the Resource Center and they were impressed with our policy,” she wrote. “We feel good about our policies and the patient care we provide and have no further comment.”

Read RCD’s letter below.

—  Anna Waugh

Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS holds makeup ride, distributes $90K

Participants ride out from the parking lot behind Caven Enterprises on Sunday.

Lone Star Ride held a shortened makeup ride Sunday and then distributed $90,000 to its three beneficiaries at a party at TMC.

The original ride, scheduled for Sept. 29–30, was canceled because of two days of heavy rain.

The makeup ride included a 30-mile morning route that began and ended at TMC on Cedar Springs Road and circled White Rock Lake. Additional riders participated in an afternoon ride that left at noon and made a round trip to ride sponsor Microsoft’s headquarters in Las Colinas.

Riders returned to Oak Lawn by 2:30 p.m. Sunday after completing the 25-mile round trip. They met in the parking lot of Cathedral of Hope and at 3 p.m. rode down Cedar Springs Road together. A crowd outside of JR.’s Bar & Grill and TMC cheered the riders in.

At TMC, awards were given for biggest fundraising teams and individuals. Dallas Voice placed second and Slow Spokes won the team competition. Anything Goes, Hope Riders and Wells Fargo placed third through fifth.

Ralph Randall was the largest individual fundraiser. Les Borzy, a first-time Lone Star Rider, was second.

Checks totaling $90,000 were distributed to beneficiaries AIDS Services Dallas, AIDS Outreach Center and Resource Center Dallas.

More photos from the makeup ride after the jump.

—  David Taffet

Successes, goals for LGBT healthcare outlined at Resource Center meeting

AJ Pearlman, far left, and Marjorie Petty, second from left, with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services listen to people express concerns about LGBT healthcare at a meeting at Resource Center Dallas on Monday afternoon. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Problems, solutions and preventive measures for health issues facing the LGBT community were the topics of a forum Monday afternoon at Resource Center Dallas.

Marjorie Petty, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and AJ Pearlman with the department’s Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs in Washington, spoke to a group of about 30 on important healthcare changes over the last year.

Many of the changes were addressed in the HHS LGBT report in April that highlighted implementing nondiscriminatory practices for visitation and health decisions for LGBT families, and funding disease programs that gear advertising toward an LGBT audience.

Pearlman said the report by the HHS LGBT Issues Coordinating Committee looked at the goals from last year and outlined new ones for the upcoming year. Some of the issues tackled within the last year were outside of the doctor’s office, such as an educational effort to prevent obesity and breast cancer among lesbian and bisexual women, training doctors on how to treat LGBT patients’ needs and launching an anti-smoking campaign for LGBT youth.

While the committee looks at issues and disparities facing the LGBT community’s access to healthcare, Pearlman said that little data exists on the issues faced by the community aside from employment discrimination and lack of relationship recognition. She said the department will be collecting data on LGBT citizens in 2013 for the first time,  with questions aimed at sexual orientation and gender identity in the National Health Interview Survey.

The remainder of the meeting focused on a discussion about healthcare and preventive care in the local community, as well as broad questions about the investigative process for hospitals who are found to discriminate against LGBT families, funding for various programs, and plans for more research and data collection.

Pearlman said input from those who attended will be taken back to D.C. for future planning of events and preventive programs in the region and nationally.

—  Anna Waugh

DART committee requests more info, formal proposal on DP benefits

Michael Muhammad, DART’s interim vice president of diversity, briefs DART’s administrative committee on domestic partner benefits on Tuesday. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

After being briefed on domestic partner benefits Tuesday afternoon, Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s administrative committee requested more information and a formal proposal.

Michael Muhammad, DART’s interim vice president of diversity, presented the presentation, listing the government agencies in Texas that offer DP benefits, as well as a handful of transit agencies in the U.S. that offer them.

Muhammad noted Texas law prohibiting the recognition of anything identical or similar to marriage and said DART’s current benefits policy requires that only a spouse under Texas’ definition can be covered.

He then mentioned that entities that offer DP benefits do so by not limiting the qualifications to only spouses. Cost of offering the benefits for DART was estimated by a consultant at $105,000 to $210,000, but would ultimately be minimal, Muhammad said.

Muhammad gave a less-than-enthusiastic presentation and his demeanor came across as bored while he read from the projected slides.

—  Anna Waugh

Resource Center sends letter to Dallas company about adding LGBT policies

Cece Cox

Resource Center Dallas’ CEO Cece Cox sent a letter Friday to Holly Frontier Corp. requesting a meeting with them about adding LGBT protections.

The oil and gas company, based in Downtown Dallas, is one of 17 Fortune 500 companies that the Equality Forum recently listed as not having any LGBT-inclusive policies.

Holly Frontier, along with ExxonMobil and Energy Transfer Supply, are based in the Dallas area.

In the letter sent to Holly Frontier’s Human Resources Director Joe Aken, Cox mentions that the company received a score of zero on the Human Rights Campaign 2012 Corporate Equality Index and that it is one of the 17 Fortune 500 companies without any LGBT-inclusive policies.

Therefore RCD leaders want to meet with the company to discuss adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to its nondiscrimination policy and offering comprehensive transgender healthcare coverage. RCD also wants the company to participate in LGBT sensitivity training for employees, engage in recruiting LGBT employees and become involved in the LGBT community.

With 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies including sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies and 50 percent including gender identity, adding LGBT protections to the company’s nondiscrimination policy “simply makes good business sense,” Cox writes in the letter, adding that the revisions would “provide clarity and consistent protections for employees while minimizing risk to shareholders.”

RCD sent a letter to ExxonMobil back in May before a shareholders meeting to vote on adding LGBT protections to its nondiscrimination policy, which later failed. RCD Communications and Advocacy Manager Rafael McDonnell said he could not comment on whether ExxonMobil responded to the request for a meeting.

In the coming months, McDonnell said RCD plans to send a letter requesting a meeting with Energy Transfer Supply to work with them on LGBT protections and policies as well.

See RCD’s letter below.

—  Anna Waugh